International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Simone Gbagbo Acquitted by the Abidjan Assize Court: Between the Independence of the Judiciary and a Political Twist to Save the Day

Simone Gbagbo, wife of former Ivorian Head of State Laurent Gbagbo, has been on trial before Ivorian court for the past ten months for crimes against humanity after being sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment in 2016 for undermining state security during the 2010-2011 post-election crisis in Côte d’Ivoire. Since February 2012, she has also been subject to an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant for four counts of crimes against humanity for acts allegedly committed during the post-election period. Côte d’Ivoire refused to transfer her because it considered that Ms. Gbagbo could be tried at the local level for the same charges. At the same time, her husband Laurent Gbagbo and their political party’s youth leader, Charles Blé Goudé, have … Continue Reading

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Acquittement de Simone Gbagbo par la Cour d’Assises d’Abidjan: Entre Independance de la Justice et Pirouette Politique our Sauver les Meubles

Simone Gbagbo, épouse de l’ancien chef d’Etat Ivoirien Laurent Gbagbo était poursuivie par la justice ivoirienne depuis dix mois pour des crimes contre l’humanité, après sa condamnation à 20 ans d’emprisonnement en 2016 pour des faits d’atteinte à la sûreté de l’Etat durant la crise post-électorale de 2010-2011 en Côte d’Ivoire. Depuis février 2012, elle fait l’objet d’un mandat d’arrêt de la Cour pénale internationale (CPI) pour quatre chefs de crimes contre l’humanité pour des faits qui auraient été commis lors de la période post-électorale. La Côte d’Ivoire a refusé de la transférer car elle considérait que Mme Gbagbo pouvait être jugée au niveau local pour les mêmes faits. Dans le même temps, son époux Laurent Gbagbo et le leader … Continue Reading

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Ntaganda Plans to Call More Than 100 Witnesses

Bosco Ntaganda’s lawyers have disclosed that they intend to call 111 witnesses to testify for the former Congolese rebel commander who is on trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC). Ntaganda faces 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
At a status conference held today, defense lawyer Stéphane Bourgon stated that the defense remained intent on calling the record number of witnesses on the list that it provided to judges and the prosecution. However, defense lawyers have not completed taking statements from all their prospective witnesses.
The prosecution in the Ntaganda trial called 71 witnesses, who testified between September 2015 and February 2017. Many of these witnesses appeared before court only briefly and consented to their prior recorded testimony – … Continue Reading

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M. Ntaganda prévoit d’appeler plus de 100 témoins

Les avocats de Bosco Ntaganda ont révélé qu’ils avaient l’intention d’appeler 111 témoins qui se présenteront pour témoigner en faveur du commandant rebelle congolais jugé devant la Cour pénale internationale (CPI). M. Ntaganda répond de 18 chefs de crimes de guerre et de crimes contre l’humanité.

À la conférence de mise en état qui s’est tenue aujourd’hui, l’avocat de la défense Stéphane Bourgon a déclaré que la défense avait toujours la ferme intention d’appeler le nombre de témoins indiqué sur la liste qu’elle avait transmise aux juges et à l’accusation. Les avocats de la défense n’ont toutefois pas fini de recueillir les déclarations de l’ensemble de leurs témoins éventuels.

L’accusation du procès Ntaganda a appelé 71 témoins qui se sont présentés entre septembre 2015 et février … Continue Reading

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A Tale of Two Origins: Two Families in Northern Uganda Claim Ongwen as Their Son

It has been nearly five months since the trial of Dominic Ongwen started at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, and one topic that has been a source of controversy, even before his surrender and transfer to the ICC, concerns his origin. This is because two separate families claim him as their son.

Ongwen, a former commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), is charged with 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in attacks that took place between 2003 and 2004 in the internally displaced persons camps of Pajule, Odek, Abok, and Lukodi. Ongwen has also been charged with sexual and gender-based crimes, including the crime of forced marriage. Ongwen surrendered to the Séléka … Continue Reading


Ongwen’s Lawyer Challenges Former LRA Abductee’s Account

Dominic Ongwen’s lawyers at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Wednesday challenged the account that a former abductee of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels made regarding an attack on a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs). Defense lawyer Charles Achaleke Taku alleged that there were contradictions between the statement the witness made to Ugandan police in 2004 and her testimony in court about the attack.

Testifying for the prosecution under the pseudonym Witness P-18, the former abductee said she was part of the group of LRA fighters who attacked the IDP camp at Lukodi and the army detachment at the same location. She said she was not armed during the attack but went along with the fighters to carry food … Continue Reading

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Witness Says Lukodi Was Not Original Target of LRA Attack

A former abductee of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) told the International Criminal Court that the Lukodi camp for internally displaced people that Dominic Ongwen is charged with attacking was not originally intended to be a target.

Witness P-18 told the court on Tuesday that Awach, another town in northern Uganda, was the intended target, but the LRA changed plans because there was a strong presence of government soldiers in that location. The witness said she learned about the change in plans when her unit and another unit of the LRA gathered before the attack.

Ongwen has been charged with attacking Lukodi in May 2004. He is also charged for his alleged role in attacks on three other camps for people displaced … Continue Reading


Human Rights Trials in Guatemala: “Two Steps Forward, One Step Back”

Since the Efrain Rios Montt trial took place in 2013, there has been a steady stream of investigations and prosecutions for grave crimes committed during Guatemala’s civil war. Despite tremendous opposition from former military officials and their supporters, prosecutors and judges continue to take on these challenging cases in an effort to fight impunity in the country, which until recently has been the norm.

In a podcast produced by the Washington Office in Latin America (WOLA), George Mason University professor Jo-Marie Burt discusses the history of grave crimes cases in Guatemala, including the cases against Rios Montt, and the role that the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) has had in strengthening the justice system charged with prosecuting these cases. Ongoing … Continue Reading

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M. Ntaganda dépose une demande « de non-lieu » devant la CPI

Les avocats de Bosco Ntaganda projettent de déposer une demande de non-lieu dans laquelle ils solliciteraient auprès des juges de la Cour pénale internationale (CPI) l’acquittement de l’ancien commandant rebelle congolais sans qu’il n’y ait présentation des arguments de la défense.

Cette demande attendue a été tout d’abord indiquée dans une demande du 13 avril déposée par les avocats de la défense demandant aux juges de leur accorder un report de la date limite pour le dépôt de leur demande. Ce report était nécessaire car le système de gestion des dossiers de la Cour a été indisponible pendant plusieurs jours pour l’installation d’un nouveau logiciel. Cela a empêché les avocats de la défense d’avoir accès au dossier de l’affaire et aux … Continue Reading

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Witness Tells Court About Her Rape in the LRA, Work as a Babysitter

A former servant in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) described to the International Criminal Court (ICC) being raped by an LRA fighter at the age of 13 and her duties as a babysitter.

Witness P-352 told the court on Monday that as a babysitter she was expected to carry the child she was assigned to care for whenever the unit changed location or run, carrying the child, if the unit came under attack. She said she and other girls who worked as servants were commonly referred to as ting ting in the LRA.

The witness said soon after she was abducted by the LRA she served for four to five months in what she called the household of Buk. This is the … Continue Reading

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